The Bears limp into this one at 4-9 with not much to play for except, well, really nothing.
Chicago has a whopping 16 players and coaches on the COVID reserve list. And unless something changes between now and when inactive players are announced, the entire starting secondary is out for tonight’s contest with the Vikings. It would be fun to see the Bears somehow pull out a win over the Vikings and spoil their chances at a wild card berth. But again, the entire secondary, two offensive tackles, a starting wide receiver, and two coordinators are all out for this one.
So, this guy might have an absolutely BONKERS game:
Justin Jefferson this season
1,288 Rec Yards
8 Rec TD
Every Eagles WR combined this season
1,466 Rec Yards
8 Rec TD pic.twitter.com/W8Xx5kCFEb
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) December 14, 2021
Of course, it’ll be on national television too.
Four more games…
“Never Tell Me The Odds”
The Minnesota Vikings lead the Chicago Bears 61-57-2 in the all-time series between the two storied rivals. But the Bears have won five of the last six games against the Vikings.
Bears Rewind: Bears 33, Vikings 24 — September 19, 1985https://t.co/RuzSDq9UBU
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 19, 2021
Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:
Location: Soldier Field
Broadcast Info: Monday, December 20 at 7:15 CT on ESPN-TV and ABC-7 in Chicago (Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters), WBBM-AM 780 and WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote), Westwood One (Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner)
Officials: Scott Novak (referee)
Expected Starters and Lineups:
CHICAGO BEARS (4-9, 2-2 NFC North)
POINTS FOR: 231 (17.8 PPG, 28th)
POINTS AGAINST: 332 (25.5 PPG, 24th)
• QB Justin Fields
• RB David Montgomery
• WRs Darnell Mooney, Damiere Byrd, Jakeem Grant Sr.
• TE Cole Kmet
• LT Teven Jenkins, LG Cody Whitehair, C Sam Mustipher, RG James Daniels, RT Elijah Wilkinson
Unavailable: RB/PR Tarik Cohen, QB Andy Dalton, WR Allen Robinson II, TE Jesse James, OT Jason Peters, RB Ryan Nall
• DT Akiem Hicks, NT Eddie Goldman, DE Bilal Nichols
• OLBs Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson
• ILBs Roquan Smith, Alec Ogletree
• CBs Kindle Vildor, Thomas Graham Jr.
• FS Deon Bush
• SS Teez Tabor
Unavailable: LB Danny Trevathan, LB Khalil Mack, LB Cassius Marsh, CB Jaylon Johnson, CB Artie Burns, CB Duke Shelley, CB Xavier Crawford, S Tashaun Gipson Sr., S DeAndre Houston-Carson, DE Mario Edwards Jr. LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB Sam Kamara
• Cairo Santos (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Jakeem Grant Sr. (kick and punt returns)
Expected Starters and Lineups:
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-7, 2-1 NFC North)
POINTS FOR: 344 (26.5 PPG, 9th)
POINTS AGAINST: 333 (25.6 PPG, 25th)
• QB Kirk Cousins
• RB Dalvin Cook
• WRs Justin Jefferson, KJ Osborn
• TEs Tyler Conklin
• LT Christian Darrisaw, LG Ezra Cleveland, C Garrett Bradbury, RG Olisaemeka Udoh, RT Brian O’Neill
• LEs D.J. Wonnum, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, NT Michael Pierce, RE Tashawn Bower
• WLB Nick Vigil, MLB Eric Kendricks, SLB Anthony Barr
• LCB Patrick Peterson, RCB Kris Boyd
• FS Xavier Woods, SS Harrison Smith
• Greg Joseph (kicker), Jordan Berry (punter, holder), Andrew DePaola (long snapper), Ihmir Smith-Marsette, K.J. Osborn (kick and punt returns)
Justin Fields gets to face the Minnesota Vikings’ 25th ranked defense tonight, but he’ll be doing it with both of his starting tackles out and Allen Robinson II. Fields looked all right in the losing effort against the Packers on Sunday Night Football last week. Still, he’ll have to be better tonight in what will probably be a shootout between two bad defenses (and a Bears defense with no healthy starters in the secondary).
Am I starting to get concerned with Justin Fields yet? No, I’m not even close to being there. But I’m not going to pretend that he’s played well this season. I need to see more from the rookie quarterback these final four games.
Roquan Smith checks into tonight’s game with 130 tackles on the season and 492 career tackles, which means it’s possible that Smith can pass Brian Urlacher’s total tackles in his first four seasons (510) with a 19-tackle performance. Sure, it’s probably more likely that Smith eclipses Urlacher’s 510 when the Bears visit the Seahawks next week, but it’s something to watch for on a night when there won’t be much else to care about on the defensive side of the ball.
You can read more about Smith’s pace through his first four seasons compared to Brian Urlacher here:
— Patrick K. Flowers (@PatrickKFlowers) December 9, 2021
“David Montgomery is the backbone of this offense for the time being. If all goes well, Justin Fields will takeover within that role shortly, but for now, the Bears offense marches to the beat of David Montgomery’s drum.”
That’s how I started the David Montgomery portion of ‘Three Bears’ last week, and we can pretty much rinse and repeat the same this week as nothing has changed. Feeding Monty the ball and winning the time of possession battle will go a long way in making sure that Justin Jefferson doesn’t rack up 250 receiving yards against the MASH unit secondary that the Bears will run out there tonight. Feed Monty, please, for the love of all things holy.
But, of course, there’s this:
It Sounds Like Matt Nagy is Resuming Play Calling Duties Tonighthttps://t.co/Oe4CGF6IEm
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 20, 2021